Nathan's Baptism

On August 22nd, 2010 Nathan was dedicated to God in Bucharest, Romania.  This was such an moving an amazing experience not because Nathan was baptized (although that is a big deal) but because he was baptized surrounded by family.

Cornel is Romanian Orthodox, so the baptism was unlike any baptism I had seen before.  I love Orthodox churches, they are so ornate and colorful and unlike at a Catholic church, there are no pews for anyone to sit on.  This is because everyone stand throughout the service unless those that are unable to of course.

Before the ceremony Nathan received a beautiful silver plaque with the Madonna and Child and his very own bible.  He was more entertained by the box they came in!

The details were beautiful.  There was the "cristelnitza" - the tub filled with holy water where the baby is dunked 3 times.  The candle held by the godparents during the service.  The altar table set up in the middle of the church.

The Ceremony

The ceremony is similar to that of a Catholic one, except that they add extra pieces and the baptism also serves as the First Communion and the Confirmation.  Also, the Godparents do all the work.  They renounce Satan on the baby's behalf and then it comes the time for the dunking.  The baby is dunked into the water 3 times and then walked around the alter with the candle and the godparents before he is finally dressed in clothes that have been purchased by the Godmother.  More prayers were said and then Nathan was given communion and taken to meet all of the saints. (For more information on what some of the traditions mean, check out my wedding ceremony blog).

Nathan did amazing during the ceremony considering he wasn't feeling 100%. Lucky for all of us he had the flowers to keep him entertained and  I think he was a little disappointed when the dunking was over.  He wanted to splash a little while longer.

And we had the new little Christian in the family!

And check out this great picture of the 4 generations!

We took advantage of the gorgeous afternoon to take some pictures at the park before heading to the reception.

The Reception

Then it was time for the reception which at the Hotel Marshal in Bucharest.  We had two tables reserved and my mother in law had set up the favors (candy boxes and photo menu/programs) on the tables while we were taking pictures.  The food and service was also amazing.  Nathan however was a little sick at the reception and we had to change his outfit three times.  Lucky for all of us, we were not at a loss for clothes.

The most wonderful part was the tiramisu cake!  I really wanted a cake for Nathan's baptism and when Cornel told me we were having a tiramisu cake I nearly had a breakdown.  I mean - I love tiramisu but tiramisu is NOT cake.  After our wedding cake disaster I did not want to trust Cornel with the cake choosing decision.  I admit that I was wrong because not only did it look beautiful it tasted even better.

The Day After

By far the funniest tradition of all is the day after.  The godmother is supposed to give the baby his first bath after the baptism - but this was no normal bath.  There were many things which had to be added to the bath water; each with a different significance.

Money - to be prosperous
Flowers & Basil - to smell good
Milk, Honey, Feathers, Baptism Oil, Maize, wheat, mint, etc.  All with their own significance.  I joked that all we needed was an apple for Nathan's mouth and we could have had a nice dinner.  Although, I should add that all of the herbs and feathers where gathered with love by Nathan's great grandmother.  Nathan was in heaven with all of the "toys" he found in the water.

After his "bath", we took him out and got him dressed.  Putting an end to the baptism weekend!  I am so glad that we had his baptism in Romania!
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Romanian Holiday - Week 2

The second half our our Romanian Holiday was less eventful than the first half.  Shortly after returning from our trip home from Bulgaria, Nathan came down with a stomach virus and had to be taken to the hospital.

Most of our time was spent at home trying to nurse Nathan back to health.  We did have some time, however, between illness and baptism to enjoy some of the sights Romania has to offer.  We spent an afternoon on the sea front city of Costanta (pronounced Constantza).  At the end of the boardwalk there is an old abandoned building called the "casino".  The building is pretty much in ruin now, but you can see that it used to be beautiful.  

We also took advantage to visit the only Aquarium in Romanian right there in Constanta.  Have you even been to an aquarium, with the large water tanks, exotic fishes, whales, dolphins, sharks?  Well this aquarium is nothing like that.  Rather, it is like seeing the fishes in people's home aquariums.  Small tanks with small fishes that you can probably buy at Petsmart.  In fact, I think that the fish section at Petsmart has more fishes than this aquarium.  I guess I sound very negative, but in fact Nathan did enjoy looking at the fishes swim around and was screaming and pounding on the glass trying to get them to come to him.  It was also a nice escape from the heat.

The rest of our trip was pretty uneventful.  We had planned to go back out to the countryside to visit Cornel's grandparents, but since Nathan spent most of his time sleeping and recovering we didn't get a chance.  Since we were homebound, we found various ways to amuse ourselves.  Nathan helped his Aunt Alina with the laundry and of course helping his parents pack the suitcase.  He also had visitors who showered him with toys and who came by to make sure he was feeling better.

It wasn't exactly how we had planned to spend the second half of our trip, but after Nathan was feeling a better, it was nice to be able to relax with family before having to leave.  It was bittersweet leaving Romania.  I was sad to be leaving Cornel's family since we had no family to come back to.  I know that Nathan is a little sadder to not have so many people holding him and playing with him.  Although, now I have to spend another 9 months "re-training" him, since now he won't get every toy he picks up at the toy store.

I am still not sure we were able to fit all of Nathan's gifts and clothes into our one suitcase plus carry-on.  Including a full-size (and about 10 pound) bible that he received as a gift at his baptism.  Traveling for a long period with Nathan was definitely and adventure.  Having to take a stroller,  car seat, pack n' play plus luggage to the airport in one car plus four and half people was definitely fun but we survived.

Nathan handled the trip home like a champ even though the flight left at 5:30 in the morning.  And now we are back and readjusting to "normal" life.  If anything that happens to us here can be called "normal".  Nathan officially starts the creche next week and we go back to work full-time.  Now just counting the days until our next vacation.

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9 month check-up

After Nathan's near death experience aka stomach virus, we decided to bump up his 9 month appointment up a few days to make sure he was okay.  We also needed to make sure that he was healthy to attend his first day at the creche (daycare).

First of all, I have to say that I love our pediatrician.  He has taken care of Nathan since the day he was born.  Quite literally, since he was the pediatrician on duty the night he was born.  What is so great about him is that he never makes us feel dumb or inadequate for any of our questions or concerns and is always willing to give great advice.  But what do I love most about my pediatrician?  His ability to "dumb" things down for me and speak to me in a terminology that I can understand.  This is especially crucial since I am dealing with my son's healthcare professional in a foreign language.  He doesn't even mind when I have to "english-ize" a word that I don't know if French.  I mean there are certain words that just aren't part of my vocabulary ... funny how words like "diarrhea" weren't part of my language classes!

Nathan handled his nine month check-up like a champ.  He played with all the toys and responded to all of the developmental "tests" he had to go through, like sitting by himself and responding to his name and sounds.

As for the quick stats:

Weight:  He is at 8.4 kgs (18.51 pounds)  down 200 grams (.44 pounds) from when he was weighed at the hospital in Romania

Height: 70 centimeters (2.3 feet).  He is almost half my size!

As for his virus, it is officially gone!  We have also been given the okay to resume his normal diet slowly of which we wasted no time.  He has quickly started back up on solids and loves them!  I guess now he can't complain about the mush since all he has had is milk and rice cereal.

And the final verdict on the creche - no problem!  Since he is no longer contagious he got the all clear to go and enjoy life at his new school!  More on this to come.

And so looking back at what I was thankful for last week when Nathan was at his worst, I have to say that this week I'm thankful for:

1.  A healthy happy smiling baby
2.  A good and uneventful flight and trip back home
3.  Amazing medical professionals who sometimes sacrifice so much for our peace of mind
4.  Sleeping in my own bed after two weeks away
5.  The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning
6.  Being able to buy fresh baked bread on my way home

McGlothin Family Nest
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Banana Bread

I've had a couple of requests to share my Banana Bread recipe and rather than sending everyone an email, I figured I would just post it on here.

I've had this recipe for years and I don't even remember where I found it so forgive me for not giving credit where credit is due.  What I love about this recipe is how easy it is and how it uses ingredients that I always have in my cupboards or fridge so there is never a need to run out to the store.

And so, without further ado, here is the recipe.


1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of oil
3 1/2 bananas (very ripe, mashed)
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (optional)


Set oven to 350℉, line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt

Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk (I use a hand mixer) until light and fluffy (about 5 - 10 min).  Drizzle in oil.  Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla.

Fold in dry ingredients and nuts.  Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Note:  If you are a complete chocloholic like me, then you can add the dark chocolate chips.  It is delicious!
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Visiting Balchick

Now, our trip to Bulgaria wasn't just all about lying around on the beach drinking daquiries (although I wouldn't have minded this type of vacation either).  Cornel is not just a "lie around on the beach" kind of guy and so we had to add a little bit of sightseeing on this trip.

I have to admit, however, that our entire weekend and all of the sightseeing was done without leaving the comfort of our resort (how is that for adventurous?).  This isn't because there wasn't a lot to see in Balchick, but rather because our hotel was smack in the middle of all the city's major attraction - the castle of Queen Regina Maria.

If you are anything like me, then the first question you just asked yourself was "Queen who?".  You are not alone.  Queen Regina Maria, apparantely she was the most beloved Romanian Queen, back when Romania still had royalty and back when this area of Bulgaria was still part of Romania.  Don't you feel more cultured already?  Anyway, Balchick is home to her summer castle and gardens.  Nathan - being the lover of all things historical and cultural, slept through most of it.  Once he woke up, however, we took advantage and took lots of pictures in the gardens, which are very beautiful.

They even had a little desert area to make an Arizona girl feel at home.  Ironic, isn't it?  I travel thousands of miles away from home only to be surrounded by more cactii.

And when we weren't touring the gardens, we toured the small sea-front shops and ate at some of the local restaurants.  I just love how beautiful anything can seem in front of water!

The highlight of my trip, however was the massage at the hotel spa.  It was complete relaxation for one very short hour.  And for only 30 euros! Who can beat it?  And unlike the French massages where there is no such thing as modesty, in Bulgaria, I didn't have to get naked once in front of my masseuse!  I mean how relaxed can one get if you are nervous about having to expose your business in front of strangers!

I don't know if we will ever make it back to Bulgaria, but it was such a great experience.
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Beach Baby

We are finally home and I am trying to catch up on writing all about our vacation.  We knew before heading out that we wanted to take Nathan to the sea side (the Black Sea) since he had never been to the beach before. From what I hear Romania has a beach on the Black Sea but it is more like Daytona Beach during Spring Break and so we decided that the probably wouldn't be the best place to take a baby.  This is why we decided to head a little further south to Bulgaria; where for only 75 euros a night you get to stay at a brand new four star hotel overlooking the sea!  This of course being before the stomach virus situation.

Now, I should say that never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would visit Bulgaria nor did I ever believe that I would be taking my 9 month old son across the border to Bulgaria, yet there we were!

We stayed at the beautiful Regina Maria Hotel and Spa in Balchick, Bulgaria.  The thing that was so nice about this hotel is that not only does every room have a private balcony overlooking the sea, but it also has two pools overlooking the sea (one indoors and one outdoors) for whatever suits your fancy.

The only thing that was a little disappointing is that there was no sandy beach for Nathan to play, but rather the hotel had a deck that went right down into the sea.  Sadly because Nathan didn't get to use his little plastic pail and shovel, but there is always this month.

With much anticipation we blew up Nathan's floatie and prepared for a momentous even in his life.  And so on August 16th, 2010 Nathan took his first swim in the sea!

What I know for sure is that my son LOVES the water, he does not however love waves.  It took him a while before he got used the motion, but ended up loving every second it! 

And so our weekend was filled with early morning swims in the sea, followed by late afternoon swims in the outdoor pool. is so hard being on vacation!

That isn't to say that we didn't get to enjoy some sand time.  On our way back to Bucharest we stopped at a sea side restaurant with a long stretch of sand.  We took of Nathan's diaper and let him feel the waves on his feet.  He HATED it and began crying instantly.  We couldn't get him off that beach soon enough.  Oh,'s only his first time.  It's got to get easier, right??

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ER Visit

It has been a crazy 24 hours and I don’t even know where to begin. It all started yesterday afternoon when we left Nathan with Cornel’s mother, sister and brother-in-law to sneak out and have a date night at the movies.

An hour into the movie we got a message from Cornel’s sister; Nathan had thrown up 3 times and they needed us to come home.

In one instant my heart sank. What was wrong with Nathan and why hadn’t I been there when it happened?

When we got back Nathan was laughing, talking, and playing. There was nothing wrong with this boy. We decided to give him a bath and get him ready for bed. He was him same old self in the bath – playing and splashing. Then came his bed time bottle, not one minute after he finished did he throw everything up. Instantly I grabbed him and told Cornel to find us a doctor; something wasn’t right.

We had no idea where to find a doctor, a hospital – nothing. We were completely helpless and in a different country no less. We searched the internet for a half hour and had succeeded to find nothing. Cornel knew of a nearby private clinic so we decided to just go, it was 9 PM.

We get to the clinic only to find out it closed at 8. We had no idea where else to go. Cornel didn’t want to take Nathan to a public hospital in Bucharest. According to him he would have gone in with one thing and come out with seven. There were many phone calls to find out where there was a private hospital that had a pediatrician. We found one by the airport, over an hour away.

Everyone in the car was arguing and no one knew where to go. We were driving around trying to find a private clinic and they were all closed. I can’t even describe everything that was going through my head at that moment. I had never felt so angry; helpless; desperate and terrified. Why couldn’t this have happened at home? How could I have been such an irresponsible mother to bring my child so far away without any medicine; without his medical information; without anything?

Then we got a call, there was a private METLife hospital nearby. There was a pediatric doctor on duty and she could see Nathan. Thank God. We finally got there at 10 PM. The hospital was already closed but the doctor would stay longer to see us. The waiting seemed endless. Nathan had fallen asleep and was so peaceful. A little after 11 we finally went up to see the doctor.

It was all in a foreign language. Cornel would translate from time to time, but I was not reassured. She poked, prodded and talked. She then handed down her diagnosis - some sort of intestinal virus.

I consulted Dr. Google since I was not convinced and that eased my mind. Now things are starting to get back to normal and, after having cried over an hour, Nathan is sleeping. There is no worse feeling than having your child cry in pain without being able to help.

And while I struggle even as I write this to find something to be thankful for, I have to be grateful that it wasn’t something more serious.

1: Thankful for the small amounts of liquids that he is able to keep down

2: Thankful that he wasn’t so severely dehydrated that he had to be hooked up to an IV

3: Thankful that we found a doctor and hospital to be able to see Nathan

4: Thankful that even though we are so far away from home, that we are surrounded by family that can help us

5: Thankful for Cornel who has been a rock even while I struggle to keep it together.

And since those were a lot of words with no pictures, what I am most grateful for is this little boy

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Romanian Holiday - Week 1

I know that it has been over a week since my last post and I have been completely neglecting this blog while I am on vacation. It has been non-stop since we arrived last Monday morning; between family visits and shopping we haven’t had much time for ourselves. We did get a chance to visit and have lunch at the restaurant where we got married two years ago. It is so strange to be back with Nathan. We left two and came back three. It was so incredibly special to be there.

But if you ever visit Romania and you go out to eat, please be careful what you order. You never know when they will try and give you “Crap in Sauce”!

Nathan survived his first red-eye flight from France to Romania including a one hour lay-over in Vienna. After having flown a low-cost airline to Madrid in June and now flying Austrian Airlines; I doubt that I will ever fly low-cost with a baby again. Austrian took such great care of us from the check-in and even during the flight. They gave Nathan his own rattle which kept him entertained not only through the flight but through the week.

The heat here has been unbearable; in the high 90’s and low 100’s and most places don’t have air conditioning. This is why we took advantage and spent two days at the Bulgarian sea side; but more to come on that later. It is a bad flashback to my life in Phoenix, except a little bit worse. At least in Phoenix I had the refuge of my air conditioned office, car and home; this is not always certain here. Earlier this week we sought refuge in a grocery store to try and escape the heat only to find out there was no air conditioning! Wow did I wish I was a frozen chicken to spend some time in that nice cooler. I don’t care if it is a dry heat or not, it is HOT and we have been trying to find creative ways to stay cool.

It is also kind of sad when it is cooler outside than in. This is why we have also sought out refuge on terraces with fans and misters; and of course drinking an ice cold beer is always a good way to stay cool. I guess that is why the beers are huge! Little did I know when I ordered a bottle of beer that I would get served this bad boy!!

Beating the heat hasn’t been all bad. It has given us an excuse to go the many shopping malls all around the city. I think Bucharest has more shopping malls per square capita than any where else in the world (please not this is not a real statistic but my personal opinion). And while my sister-in-law took care of Nathan, Cornel and I did something we hadn’t done since Nathan was born … go to a movie! We saw Shrek in 3D at the IMAX theatre and I was so thankful it was in English!

As for Nathan he has become incredibly spoiled. I don’t even think spoiled is even the right word anymore. He has been spoiled by grandparents; great- grandparents; aunts and uncles, etc. It is going to take us an entire nine months just to get him back to normal. He has gone on giraffe rides (look out Sophie there is some competition in town) and gotten showered by gifts, toys and clothes. And oh yeah, he now refuses to ride in his stroller and prefers to be held 24/7; this is the first habit that will get broken as soon as we get home.

Probably the most amazing thing that has happened on this trip is that Nathan got to meet his great-grandparents! This was incredibly amazing for me because I didn’t even grow up with grandparents let alone great-grandparents! I can’t even imagine what it felt like for them to have four generations of their family together in their home. I hope that Nathan realizes one day what a lucky kid he is!

And now that we are back from the sea, I can finally spend some time reading all the blogs I’ve missed, and of course downloading the hundreds of pictures that we have so far from this trip!
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Clean out the fridge tuesday

I have a love hate relationship with fresh fruits and vegetables. I love buying them. They always look so delicious at the store; shiny, fresh and delicious. I bring them home with such hopes of what I am going to do with them; all of the recipes that I am going to create. After two weeks when it is time to get the shopping list ready again I find myself throwing out the mush that once resembled those yummy fruits and veggies. It is a vicious cycle. Sadly, with working full time I don’t make dinner every night and these poor veggies end up dying a slow painful death. It is so sad and such a waste of money.

This is why that in preparation for our trip, I decided I would try to use up all of the fruits and veggies in our fridge so that I wouldn’t have to throw them out. I got to make all of those delicious foods that I crave when I walk through the grocery store.

First up -Vegetarian Pizza with fresh crust:

I found this recipe for a 30 minute pizza crust that didn’t require the dough to rise endless number of times. Since I love easy and since I have a lot of yeast in the cupboards to use up, I decided to give it a try. The verdict – it is very easy to make and it does taste just like a normal pizza crust.

I added some olive oil, some herbs de province, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. It came out delicious! This is definitely a great way to use up some veggies. The best part about it is that even with making the dough it took less than an hour to prepare. This is definite a plus for a busy girl like me.

Next up - Banana Bread

I have a delicious recipe for banana bread that I adore. It is super simple to make and I always have all the ingredients on hand. I don’t own a loaf pan so I use a cake pan. The end result is the same – delicious. Sometimes when I am feeling daring I add some dark chocolate chunks. Is there a better combination than chocolate bananas and walnuts?

Last up – Zucchini and Mushroom risotto style rice

I love risotto but have no patience to make it. I can’t stand hovering over the stove stirring and pouring and so I make this quick alternative.

Typically you are supposed to grate the zucchini and add it to the rice along with the cooking liquid and mushrooms but Cornel hates zucchini so I add it to blender when I puree all the other veggies.

This recipe is super simple. In a blender add ½ an onion, a small carrot, one celery stalk all chopped into a blender. Add about 2 tbs of oil and blend until pureed.

Add to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of beef broth (or your choice of broth). Bring to a boil and then add 1 cup of grated zucchini and ½ cup of chopped mushrooms. Reduce heat and cover and cook rice as long as indicated on the box (typically 20 minutes). Top with grated parmesan cheese right before serving. Makes a great vegetarian dinner!
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France is closed, will be back in September

In just a few short hours we will be on our way to begin our annual summer vacation.  Last year we spent the entire month of August back in the states - and this year we are off to Romania to visit Cornel's family.

When most people hear that we take the entire month off the reaction I typically get is, "you are so lucky to have one month off from work!".  The truth is luck has nothing to do with it.  We are "obliged" to take the month of August off.  This made no sense to me at the beginning.  I mean why August.  Why couldn't I take my vacation in September or February for that matter.  It is so expensive to travel in August because everyone is on vacation.  It made no sense that is, until I spent my first August in France.

You see, France is closed in August.  Restaurants, bakeries, almost everything is shut down.  For one month!  There is nothing more frustrating than going to get bread only to be greeted by a sign that says they will open again at the end of August.  Perfect.  Even the cafeteria at work is closed for the entire month of August.  And as for the restaurant across the street...

Translation:  Closure Thursday, July 29 3:30 p.m. Reopening Tuesday, August 24 7:00 a.m.

Talk about culture shock.  Can you imagine if Target just shut down for a month?  What would you do if you just showed up at the mall and there was a sign on the stores asking you to come back in one month?  It never ceases to amaze me.  And while frustrating at first, you have to just go with the flow and enjoy the three weeks of vacations.  I don't know how I'm going to handle going back to the states and working in August.  What will I do without these 42 days of vacation?
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9 months

Wow, in just three short months we are going to be celebrating Nathan's first birthday!  How crazy is that?  My son is now 3/4 of a year old and he is now quite the little boy.

We had a great day with him today, doing some of his favorite activities. We started our day by taking him swimming which was followed of course by our pain au chocolate breakfast.  Nathan had a cookie which he then proceeded to rub all over the inside of his stroller.

We were then off to the store to buy some last minute items for our vacation.  My son, who always has impeccable timing decided to poop as soon as we got in the car. After creating a make-shift changing table in the back seat I notice that it had gone all the way through the onesie, and of course I had no change of clothes.  As I get out the travel wipes I realize there are no more in the container - even better! Cornel rushes back inside the store to buy wipes and we finally get him cleaned off.

The rest of our day was pretty normal, finished up last minute touches for his baptism favors, and just played.  Enjoying the first day of our vacation!

Age - 9 months old today

Height - I have no clue.  We'll find out when goes back to the doctor for his 9 month appointment at the end of the month.

Weight - See above.  I don't know how heavy he is but it is getting harder and harder to carry him up the stairs!  I'm either going to get arms of steal or we're going to have to come up with another system for getting up the stairs.

Sleeping Habits - Still sleeping through the night.  He does have his moments now when he cries right before going down.  I am assuming it is teething related, but it so heartbreaking and I am definitely not the type of mother than can let my son cry it out - it is absolutely heartbreaking.  Lucky for us when he finally goes down, he is down for at least 8 - 9 hours.

Eating Habits -  We started moving away from the purees and started with the finger food.  Although I am not quite sure why we call it finger food, since it seems to get everywhere not just his fingers - his hair, his clothes...I was even lucky enough to find a piece of broccoli in his diaper.  I guess he was saving it for later.

Teeth -   He is now up to three and a half teeth!  Teething hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be.  Although now everything is going into his mouth.  I got bit while changing his diaper and i was shocked by how strong his little teeth are getting.  He also loves brushing his teeth!  It is so cute to watch him with his little toothbrush.

Milestones - We still don't have a crawling baby.  I think he has given up on crawling all together.  He does enjoy rolling all over the place and throwing himself in the general direction of where he wants to go, but he is still limited on his ability to move.  He has now started saying "mamamama", "papapapa", and "abababa".  He either has a strange love of Swedish Pop Music or he is saying what we believe to be water.  Sadly he only says "mamamam" when he is sad, cranky or upset.  I can't wait for him to say "mamama" when he is happy and wants to play.  It is bittersweet to always hear it with tears in his eyes.

I can't believe how far he has come in such a short time.  He gets more and more adorable every day and it is amazing how much more I can love him from one day to the next!

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Goodbye Hello

I can't believe that it is already the middle of August.  It is hard to believe especially since it is so cold.  I had to wear a sweater to work this morning.  I also can't believe that this is the last week that Nathan will be spending with Iliana, our amazing friend who has been watching Nathan since I have gone back to work back in February.

It was so hard at first to leave Nathan.  I felt like such a terrible mother for choosing to work outside the home.  I could not have imagined what a blessing it would be to find someone like Iliana to take care of Nathan.  She not only takes care of him, she loves him as if he was her own.  She plays with him, takes him on walks, teaches him things and is just wonderful.  Nathan's face lights up when he sees her, and every time we go to pick him up he is smiling and laughing.  It is little things like that which make going to work bearable.  I know that he is going to be sad not going back.  I'm a little sad not taking him back and saying goodbye.

After vacation it's going to be Bonjour Daycare!  I don't know how I'm going to react having to leave my son with strangers.  I'm sure he will do fine, and hopefully he will make friends.  Well as good a friends as a 9 month old can make.

He will be bringing home arts and craft projects and will hopefully be teaching me french in a few months! Wouldn't that be great, my own personal translator?

And so again on Thursday...I'm thankful for many things.

1.  Wonderful friends who love my son like family.

2.  The amazing things my son has learned the past 6 months

3.  The excitement and anticipation of all the new things he will learn at "school"

4.  Having this sweet little face to look at every single day

oh...and be sure to follow more Thankful Thursdays at The Tarr Pit.

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Baptism Update

It is hard to believe that Nathan will be getting baptised in just two short weeks, and in Romania no less.  I am so excited since we also got married in Romania and it's so special for me to be able to go back and baptize our first child there.  Taking care of the preparations has been hard since we are so far away.  Luckily we have great help from Alina and Cristi (sister & brother-in-law and soon to be godparents).  I admit that I have been going a little crazy with the details, it's in my nature.  But I mean, it's a very momentous event - our first child's baptism.

I'm not really sure what Romanian traditions entail, and Cornel has no clue.  This means that I'm on my own as far as planning is concerned.  I always feel like I walk a fine line as far as the mixing of my traditions with Cornel's, I mean who knows who I will offend and why.  But such is the life in an international relationship.

This is why Saturday we spent almost half a day trying to find something we could give away that was also easy to travel with.  We found cute favor boxes and decided that we would fill them with candy once we got there.

I couldn't help but feel there was something missing.  I mean, I can't just give away a box, can I?  That just isn't like me.  So I decided to make my own programs.  Why not, right? I'm only working full time, have an 8 month old, a husband and a home to take care of, so why not take on a new project?!  In addition to the programs I also made about 2 dozen ribbon flowers to place on top of the boxes.

I bought paper, printed out pictures of Nathan, and spent hours on the computer designing them.  I enlisted the help of Cornel to help cut the paper and tie ribbons.

They are not much yet, but I am proud.  So now, we will spend the rest of time getting ready for our vacation and tying up lose ends.  And while I know that most of these details will go unnoticed in light of the event, it makes me happy to know that I have poured my heart into the preparations of a very special event in my son's life!
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Tasty Tuesday

Lets talk about food for a minute.  Why?  Because I love food and I have recently discovered the joy of cooking.  Well, okay, maybe the word "joy" is a little strong, but I've learned to enjoy cooking more than I used to.

I had fallen in a rut where I would make the same things over and over again.  The very idea of cooking something that I had cooked a million times over made me dread going into the kitchen.  It made cooking seem like such a chore - something I had to do.  I used to be very good at cooking and loved to prepare meals every night.  And so in an effort to rediscover this relationship with food I have started scouring the internet for recipes that I can try out in my kitchen.

And so, using Cornel as my guinea pig, I tried out two new recipes last week.  The first is from a cute little blog called Waking up Williams, and it's a delicious beef with broccoli!

As it is my true fashion, I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I had tons of fresh veggies in the fridge and so I decided to use them up.  I added a red bell pepper for color and texture.  It was so good.  I wish I could find some red pepper flakes in France because I think it would have been delicious with a little kick.  The best part about it is that it was so fast and easy.  I hope to be trying this one out again.

I also found this recipe on a the site Little Birdie Secrets for something they called cowboy caviar.  Essentially it's a mexican salad with beans, corn, avocado.  I was sold after seeing avocado in the recipe. It is absolutely one of my favorite veggies (or is it a fruit?).

Since I had some left over beef, I decided to cook it with some onions and bell peppers with a touch of cumin.  I then proceeded to add it to the salad, because after-all, everything is better with a little beef!  This is a delicious summer salad (with or sans beef) especially with the abundance of fruits and veggies that are everywhere.

With two successes under my belt, I think I might continue to give this cooking thing a try for a while!
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Baby's New Ride

As you may know, Nathan makes no attempt to be mobile.  He is perfectly content sitting on the floor and playing with anything within his reach.  He does not want to be bothered with the ever so daunting task of moving anywhere.  If something isn't within his reach, then it was not meant to be played with.  Every once in a while he will roll himself somewhere, but makes no attempt to crawl anywhere.  This was so hard for me to accept at first.  I mean, a baby is supposed to crawl, right?  He is supposed to want to move around and get into things, right?

He does love to stand up.  He loves to be standing and holding on to our hands and pretending to walk.  While this is very sweet, it so exhausting for us.  And so, in order to help with the mobility issue - and to spare ourselves a little back pain from walking bent over - Cornel decided that a new purchase was in order.

Saturday while running crazy errands before our vacation next week, we made a small pitstop at Espace Bebe 9 (baby store) and picked up a walker for Nathan!  We put him in while at the store to "test" drive it for a while.  He loved the toys on top, but didn't really get the idea of moving around in it.  Since it was on sale, we brought it home anyway and set it up.  Now our living room officially looks like a Toys R' Us showroom (with more toys than furniture).

In any case, we set Nathan down in his walker and watched with excitement in anticipation of his first assited "steps".  We imagined Nathan rolling around the house causing havoc wherever he went.  Nothing.  Lots of playing with the toys - no movement.  He did get so excited playing with the toy piano on top that he began kicking his legs in excitement, making the walker move backwards.  Hardly worth the anticipation.

We tried a couple more times.  One time he thought he was in his jumperoo and jumped his way all around the living room.  Squealing in delight.  He looked so cute and happy! My mother keeps saying that once he gets the hang of it, he will be a menace on wheel.  I'm hoping.  I want to see my baby moving around the house.  Although I guess any toy that can make him laugh and smile like he does is a good investment.  That squeal and laugh are afterall some of my favorite sounds in the entire world.  And I'm sure all babies want their own set of wheels.  This will get me used to the idea when he asks to borrow the car at 16!

Oh...and let's not forget what goes great with some new wheels...some new shades!  Courtesy of his daddy!

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